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Factors for determining alimony awards

Going from a married life to a single life is a major transition for some couples in Florida. The post-divorce life can seem scary, and some spouses are unsure how they will manage their new single life without the support of another person in their life. If finances are a major concern, some spouses will request alimony in the divorce process. This monthly or lump sum payment can help meet the financial needs of that spouse, helping them make the transition to a self-supportive life.

Spousal support does not look the same for each spouse that requests it. In some cases, spouses are able to reach their own agreement. However, it is often the case that divorcing couples will need the assistance of the court to come up with a fair and workable alimony agreement.

Because spouse support is designed to limit any unfair economic effects of the divorce process by providing a continual income to the non-wage earning or lower-wage earning spouse, the courts take certain factors into account when determining what is a fair alimony agreement. These factors include the age, physical condition, emotional state and financial condition of each spouse, the length of time the recipient spouse would need to obtain education or job training, the standard of living during marriage, the length of the marriage and the ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient spouse while still support him or herself.

These above factors are used to determine not only the amount of alimony paid each month or in total but are also used to determine how long alimony will last. Unless a couple was married for several decades, a recipient spouse will typically not be awarded lifetime alimony. The current trend is rehabilitative spousal support, which will last until it is evidence that the recipient spouse is self-sufficient.

Requesting alimony might seem like a simple step in the divorce process; however, it can be a lengthy and complex decision to make. Thus, it is important that spouses are aware of their rights regarding spousal support and what steps they need to take to reach a favorable agreement.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed April 16, 2017

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